The Nintendo Switch has already proven itself capable of handling heavy hitters that many assumed would never work on the hybrid handheld, and we can now add Dying Light to that list. This Platinum Edition is an impressive port that cleverly pares back only what it needs to, and while there have obviously been comprises, they’re hard to pick out unless directly comparing the Nintendo Switch version with Dying Light on PS4, Xbox One, or PC.
The most important takeaway from playing Dying Light on Switch is that the game’s scale, immersion, and character all remain intact, and in some ways enhanced. Even when playing Dying Light on-the-go, I still felt fully immersed in this wildly popular horror survivor hit.
The sheer scope of Dying Light puts it in same realm as other hulking open world games like Skyrim, The Witcher 3, and Breath of the Wild. It’s not just a huge map, it’s a labyrinth of urban structures, a gauntlet that’s designed to put players’ parkour skills to the test. Then you have to consider the population of Harran. Sure, there aren’t many humans left though the streets are flooded with infected, most of them milling around in massive herds.
Alternatively, you can step outside the city bounds and into the verdant countryside nearby for the expansive The Following DLC pack. Now with drivable vehicles, you can get across the terrain much more quickly, while the parkour and melee combat continue to shine in certain scenarios.
As Dying Light fans will know, once the sun goes down, the game’s nastier Infected come out to play. This is where the game can get truly terrifying. Dying Light dangles greater rewards to tempt you into venturing out at night, but there’s a very real risk of being mauled by a Volatile – hyper-aggressive hunters that won’t give up the chase, even when you climb and leap between buildings to create some distance.
It’s not the game’s most popular mode, but you can even assume the role of an Infected and enter another player’s session. In fact, there’s plenty to do in this game, even when you aren’t pursuing the original campaign. Aside from Dying Light’s technical achievements, it’s next major selling point is the amount of content crammed into the Platinum Edition package. The base game is already massive and once you’ve had your fill you can dive straight into The Following. Then there are modes such as The Bozak Horde (challenge arenas) and the fantasy-themed Dying Light: Hellraid. Throw in the gallery of user-generated maps and modes created by the Dying Light community and your potential total playtime will start to rocket.
In terms of resolution and performance, we’ve already alluded to some compromises. Texture detail has been dialled back on both characters and environments with typically less Infected on-screen at one time. There’s some pop-in, some wonky looking shadows, and other visuals cutbacks that also rear their head, but they’re hard to notice as, especially as you barrel through Dying Light’s more urban environments.
However, this Nintendo Switch port maintains a steady 30 fps, even during those busier, more crowded moments when fighting or fleeing an Infected horde. It’s subtle, though Techland has gone back and injected a bit more colour into Dying Light, characters models, textures, and lighting having a bit more vibrancy to them. And this is all in handheld mode – I never felt the itch to dock my Switch, nor did I get the niggling sense that I’d be better off playing it the big screen.
All in all, Dying Light Switch is a technically impressive port. Techland has made clever cuts to retain everything great about the survival horror hit and whether you’re looking to revisit the game or coming to it completely fresh ahead of Dying Light 2’s release in February, this Switch release is well worth considering.